12 Awesome Tips for Marketing to Millennials

Young adult male student in the lobby of a university

Creative, tech-savvy and social media obsessed millennials are transforming the companies they work for and our marketplace. Despite all this, only 15 percent of businesses today actively pursue millennial marketing.

If your business hasn’t considered marketing to millennials, it may be a good time to start. This age group represents much of the market, offering almost $20 billion in buying power.

Advertising that Appeals to Millennials

So, what’s your millennial audience looking for when choosing a brand to do business with? Even industry leaders aren’t sure – in fact, many big-name brands have spent millions on consultants trying to understand the millennial brain. “What does a millennial care about?” and “How do we capture a millennial’s attention?” were some questions businesses asked.

Fortunately, there’s no need to hire your own team of experts to decode the Millennial mind. In this article, we’ll reveal how to target millennials and tap into this ever-growing demographic.

Media writer corresponding with the company's millennial audience over social media from her Macbook

TIP: Millennials respond to brands with personality, so, start a conversation on social media.

How to Market to Millennials

1. Use Social Media & Social Proof

Millennials are obsessed with social media. They spend several hours per day reading posts from friends, celebrities, and influencers and often use this information to make buying decisions. So, harnessing the power of social media is the key to your millennial marketing strategy.

There are a few ways to leverage social media to engage your audience:

  • Use Facebook Live Stream and other streaming services to introduce your brand and foster authentic interactions with your audience.
  • Run a contest on social media that encourages them to share photos of themselves using your product.
  • Get in touch with influencers, who can provide a unique take on your brand’s story or product to increase your awareness.

2. Offer Rewards & Incentives

A millennial wants to be seen on social media and is more likely to engage with a brand if offered a reward or incentive. Offering fun and creative ways to use your company’s product can be a great way to capture new attention.

If you receive feedback, be sure to share the ideas on your social media accounts. Tagging the person who provided the feedback is another good way to add a personalized touch.

3. Create Personal Connections

Despite the constant presence of social media, text messaging, and instant messaging apps, millennial consumers don’t have as many personal connections as you might believe. However, feeling a connection to a brand is important to this age group as they’re the ones who created the world of influencer marketing.

When establishing your millennial marketing plan, work toward building a trusting relationship with your audience. Connect with potential customers on social media, answering their questions and commenting on posts – without selling.

4. Keep It Real

With content creation in the age of millennials, telling real-life stories helps them form a brand connection. These consumers enjoy seeing actual stories of how your brand began or why your company focuses on a specific mission.

Real stories help your audience relate to your brand on a personal level. Video can be an excellent and cost-effective tool for storytelling. Remember, they’re less concerned with what your product does, but more about how it makes a positive impact on their life.

5. Respond Quickly

There’s no doubt about it – millennial consumers are busy, and they likely won’t tolerate waiting multiple days for a company response. That’s why they don’t use email and prefer quicker gratification through text, instant message and Instagram. When you take too long to answer questions, the potential customer may feel that you’ll be difficult to work with down the line.

A man's hand pressing his thumb on his mobile phone to interact with a mobile friendly website

6. Create Mobile-friendly Content

This may seem like an obvious tip, but many brands still haven’t optimized their websites for mobile use. On-the-go millennials want to find information on their smartphones quickly, and this isn’t possible if your site isn’t mobile-ready.

Most consumers own a smartphone, and millennials are particularly obsessed with their devices. In fact, millennials typically spend over five hours per day on their devices. Therefore, creating mobile-optimized content is no longer optional.

Here are tips for mobile-friendly content:

  • Faster is better: Site should load quickly (2-3 seconds max)
  • Use video: Product how-to guides, interviews with industry experts, and behind-the-scenes views of your company are all popular.
  • Tell a story with visuals: Use Instagram photos and data-rich infographics.
  • Content formatting: Incorporate bullet points, short sentences, quotes, headings, highlighting etc.

7. Craft an Inspiring Message

Millennial consumers are drawn to brands that make them feel good or inspire them beyond simply making a purchase. Brands that give consumers the sense of contributing to a positive cause do well with this age group. Sharing information about charity work or other efforts that your company supports may resonate with this group.

8. Offer Support

When engaging in millennial marketing, it’s not about breaking down emotional barriers; it’s about giving your target market multiple options for connecting with your brand. Being available to help consumers through Twitter and Facebook as well as your website, live chat or chatbot has value when appealing to millennial consumers.

9. Avoid the Hard Sell

With the buying experience, content marketing is your friend where aggressive selling is your enemy. Instead of directly selling to millennials, focus on creating high-quality, relatable content that leads them to a solution which helps in making a purchase. To do this, think about the following questions:

  • What is the buyer’s problem?
    Focus on a challenge your audience has or can relate to.
  • Why is your solution unique?
    This is where your company can establish credibility, educating the reader about your product or industry.
  • How do you make a difference?
    You need to show how your company and/or your product has a positive impact on their lives, the environment or their health.
  • What should the buyer do next?
    Use call-to-actions that lead the reader to your solution.

Millennials are tech-obsessed. Reach out to them on their terms.

10. Don’t Generalize

When discovering how to target millennials, it’s important not to make sweeping generalizations about their interests and worldviews. While it’s acceptable to make assumptions about technology or cultural trends, it’s important to ensure you’re addressing the millennial consumer as an individual instead of a hypothetical person of a demographic group.

Listening tools play a key role in marketing to millennials. Social listening, talking to your customers face-to-face, or conducting market research all are excellent ways to understand millennials’ needs. Think about what differentiates them from other markets and consider which types of stories and content appeal to them.

Creating customized marketing content that speaks to millennials’ interests is the best way to generate engagement. This is where storytelling comes in – the more personal each message is, the more likely to resonate with your audience.

Don't stereotype. Each millennial is a unique person that deserves your attention.

11. Create a Real-Time Hook

Content that makes an impact is the key with reaching as many people as possible. While evergreen content is valuable for a long-term marketing strategy, timely content that “hooks” the reader is essential to attracting busy millennials. This involves finding out what’s trending along with relevant, interesting content that creates a sense of urgency and inspires them to engage.

If it relates to your industry, explore current events that your business might take a position on. You can also post profiles of people in your brand’s network, including employees and customers. Creating posts about holidays, current events and the hottest internet topics all great ways generate timely content.

12. Be Truthful

Last – but not least — always be honest when communicating with your millennial audience. If your product or service may not work for their needs, let them know. Instead, offer helpful advice or and alternate product even if not yours. Millennial shoppers will appreciate and respect brands that are forthcoming, and will often share their positive experience with friends, family and peers… on social media of course.

Over to you

Content marketing is a great way to reach millennials because it allows them to engage with your business organically. When developing your millennial marketing plan, curate stories that apply to your audience’s problems and needs, and create a seamless mobile experience. Most of all, focus on a message about helping, not selling. This is the best approach for turning millennials into dedicated brand advocates.

With these simple tips on how to position yourself with millennials, you’ll be able to tap into this rapidly expanding consumer base. As always, using high-quality content and fostering positive relationships with consumers will help you take your brand to the next level.

Avatar for Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner graduated with an MFA in professional and creative writing from Western Connecticut State University in 2014. He's worked on a number of professional writing projects with clients such as Pearson Education, WatchMojo.com, and Michael Mailer Films. Giving brands a voice is his passion.


Avatar for Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner graduated with an MFA in professional and creative writing from Western Connecticut State University in 2014. He's worked on a number of professional writing projects with clients such as Pearson Education, WatchMojo.com, and Michael Mailer Films. Giving brands a voice is his passion.